The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)



Title quest: UConn women’s basketball needs at least two wins in its last three games to secure this year’s Big East regular-season crown.

The Huskies last faced the Red Storm on Jan. 11 in the first-ever women’s college basketball game at UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y. UConn won 82-52 thanks to four players in double-figures, including star sophomore Azzi Fudd.

That game in Elmont was Fudd’s first after sitting out eight games with a right knee injury. Fudd came off the bench and scored 14 points (she was 2 of 4 from 3) and grabbed three rebounds in 20 minutes.

However, Fudd reinjured her knee the very next game in the second quarter of UConn’s win over Georgetown. She has yet to return, and UConn coach Geno Auriemma said last week that he still doesn’t have an updated timeline for the sophomore’s return.

Auriemma said Fudd has returned to some non-contact workouts and is no longer on crutches. She is still wearing a brace on her right knee.

The Huskies have played the past two games with nine available players following Caroline Ducharme’s return last week. Ducharme missed 13 games after getting concussed on Jan. 2. She returned last Wednesday and played 21 minutes and scored 10 points in UConn’s win over Creighton.

On Saturday, the sophomore scored six points and grabbed six rebounds in 22 minutes.

While Ducharme has been cleared from protocol testing, Auriemma said she’s still experienci­ng symptoms and she determines how much she plays based on how she feels.

“She’s just been suffering from some tightness and some people just have it (in their) shoulders and neck and her muscles are so tight that she gets those stress migraine headaches,” Auriemma said Saturday. “And when she’s good to go, you know those are mild and free and she can play through them. And when they’re a little bit more involved, she takes herself out. So, I leave it up to her, how much do you want to play, how long do you want to play? … So, we just go day by day. But every day she’s been feeling better and better and better.”

About St John’s: The Red Storm have gone 5-5 since last meeting the Huskies and are currently in fifth place in the Big East. St. John’s enters Tuesday’s meeting with two-straight losses including a 61-38 loss at Marquette on Saturday and a 73-57 loss against Villanova last Wednesday.

St. John’s last win was on Feb. 11, defeating DePaul 77-61 in Queens.

Redshirt senior guard Jayla Everett leads St. John’s with 16.0 points per game while redshirt senior forward Rayven Peeples leads with 8.6 rebounds per game.

UConn is 47-17 all-time over St. John’s. The Red Storm’s last win over the Huskies was on Feb. 18, 2012, upsetting the Huskies 57-56 at Gampel Pavilion.

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